UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY
The 2010 Orthodox Youth Worker and Camp Conference - Great Success in Silver Spring, MD!
The Orthodox community of over 50 youth workers and camping administrators gathered together for their annual conference January 28-31, 2010, in Silver Spring, MD. The conference was held at St. Andrew's Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral complex. The participants were greeted with opening remarks from His Eminence Archbishop Antony, Eastern Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, about persevering in their ministry. He stressed that bringing our youth to Christ is difficult yet essential in our world today, and conveyed a beautiful story about how just caring for someone can change their life.
The keynote for the event, Rev. Fr. Michael Nasser, built upon the theme of the conference, "Conveying the Gospel in the 21st Century." He explored how living in chaos can distract us from truth, and how understanding chaos can aid us in our youth ministry. Fr. Nasser worked in parish youth ministry, was the director of the Antiochian Village for 10 years and most recently was the priest at St. Innocent Orphanage at Project Mexico.
Additional workshops included Fr. Anthony Yagze, current director of the Antiochian Village, speaking on how to practically convey the theme in parish and camping programming. The group pooled their collective knowledge and strengths during an interactive curriculum workshop. Each group outlined a curriculum idea using the workshop theme for various age ranges and situations. This is the first time that the conference has produced materials that will be provided online at the Orthodox Christian Camping Association website, as well as the various Orthodox Youth Ministry websites for use by current and future youth/camping ministry workers. The curriculum information will be online by the end of February.
The participants also enjoyed wonderful social meals and a model youth night. Additionally the conference provided time for a presentation by Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) and a round table discussion of the participant concerns and presentations from the Jurisdictional Youth Departments. One conference participant stated, “The resources and knowledge that I gained from this weekend was exactly what I personally needed.” Another participant has this to add, "...wonderful conference for new camp/youth directors to come to. A lot of good resources and wonderful support network."
While this year’s conference was hosted by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Youth and Camping Department, it is a joint effort of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the American Carpatho-Rysyn Diocese in the USA, the Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church in America, and Orthodox Church in America. Next year’s conference will be hosted by the Orthodox Church in America Youth and Camping Department, January 27-30, 2011 (location TBA). You can learn more about what the Orthodox Christian Camping Association has to offer at their website at www.orthodoxcamps.org.